Open mic contest: The Final on Thursday nightBy Paul Robins
October 15, 2008
Thursday 16th October sees the final of the annual Open Mic contest, one of the biggest events in Reading Comedy Festival’s collection.
But which of the 10 will be crowned the most appealing – and what’s their favourite cheese? Paul Robins has the answers...
Wannabe stand-ups will be delivering their best gags tonight in a bid to be crowned winner of this year’s Open Mic competition.
The 10 hopefuls were selected during three joke-filled heats held at 3Bs over the past few weeks and will battle it out for glory at South Street Arts Centre.
Each budding comic will perform a five-minute routine to prove they have what it takes to realise their dream of becoming the next Ricky Gervais or Jo Brand.
Their acts will be judged by an esteemed panel which will include Evening Post reporter Paul Robins, 2tenfm presenters Foxy and Juliano, Steve Bennett from Chortle.com and Fay James from 4laughs.com.
Check out the video below to see some of the funnymen and women in action in the heats, featuring in order: Gerry Howell, Richard Stainbank, Tom Rosenthal, Helen Arney, Tom Goodliffe, Ian Smith, Anthony Matthews and Know Future.
The Open Mic contest has become a regular feature of the Reading Comedy Festival, giving wannabe funnymen and women the chance to show off their comedic talents.
Last year’s winner James Mason has seen his career take off since being voted ‘top banana’, going on to perform gigs around the country including at the Edinburgh Festival.
“The Reading Open Mic was the first – and only – competition I have won and it really helped establish me as a proper act,” he said.
“I was able to get better paid spots on gigs and it kind of vindicated what I was doing. It boosted my profile on a local level too.”
The deadpan stand-up now helps run Big Jack’s Laughter Club at Afroba in Merchants’ Place, which has attracted some of the circuit’s biggest names including Shazia Mirza and Mike Page.
And the Wokingham funnyman, who describes his act as a morph of Stewart Lee and Jack Dee, has been impressed by the talent on show in this year’s competition.
“I’m glad I’m not in it this year because the standard has been really high,” he said.
“I would have been lucky to make the final. It really shows that the Open Mic competition is going from strength to strength.”
And his advice to the finalists? “Just enjoy it. Know your material but don’t be afraid to come off script and interact with the audience. Good luck!”
The show, which starts at 8pm, is free. For information, call the box office on (0118) 960 6060 or visit www.readingcomedyfestival.com